Choose a bicycle type:
Proper saddle height for road bikes improves pedaling efficiency and makes riding more comfortable.
The proper saddle height for a mountain bike helps the rider handle various terrain types efficiently.
BMX bikes require different saddle heights for the type of riding, primarily racing, jumping and tricks.
Kids bikes require saddle height adjustments as your child grows.
The Importance of Setting the Correct Saddle Height
Once you've chosen the correct bike frame for your body using a bike size chart or calculator, the first adjustment you should make is to the seat height.
By inputting your inseam and height into a bike seat height calculator like the one above, you can identify an approximate seat height for the style of bike you own. Alternatively, a bike seat height chart will provide a similar result.
While these numbers are approximate, they provide a good starting point from which you can adjust further.
Riding with the incorrect saddle height can result in a host of problems. Most importantly, a saddle set too high or low will cause discomfort and likely lead to injuries.
Common injuries occur in the knee (usually in the front or at the side), back, and hamstring. In addition, discomfort in the neck, saddle sores, and wrist numbness can discourage you from riding.
These problems arise from your pelvis shifting repetitively across or up and down the seat, over or underextending on the pedal stroke, excess hinging at the hips, or imbalanced weight distribution and recruitment of certain muscle groups.
Alongside injuries and discomfort, performance takes a big hit when the saddle height is incorrect. Unfortunately, maximum pedal stroke efficiency and the recruitment of the appropriate muscles happen in a tiny saddle height range, so finding the perfect one for you is essential.
It's worth taking the time to calculate and experiment with your saddle height, considering its outsized effect on performance, comfort, injury likelihood, and overall enjoyment of cycling.